Johns, Jasper

Johns, Jasper Biography

American painter, sculptor, and printmaker, who has played a leading role in the development of mid-20th-century American art. In 1954 Jasper Johns began painting works in a manner radically different from the abstract expressionist style that then dominated American art. Jasper Johns studied briefly (1947-48) at the University of South Carolina at Columbia and then moved to New York City to pursue a career as an artist. In 1954 he became friendswith Robert Rauschenberg, and that year he began his series of paintings of American flags. His first one-man show, held at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City in 1958, was a resounding success.

Jasper Johns' canvases were devoted to such familiar objects as targets, American flags, numbers, and alphabet letters. He painted these subjects with objectivity and precision, applying paint very thickly, so that the oil paintings became objects in themselves rather than reproductions of recognizable items. This idea of art-as-object became a potent influence on later sculpture as well as painting; Jasper Johns often integrated three-dimensional objects into his paintings.

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